Category Archives: Uncategorized

Getting Ready To Return To ‘Normal’

“Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love ”
Leonard Cohen, Canadian Songwriter
1934-2016 Continue reading

Goodness, It’s Saturday Again

SIX WORD SATURDAY
FIRST SATURDAY IN ALERT LEVEL TWO

“It’s a serious thing just to be alive
on this fresh morning in this broken world”
Mary Oliver

On Thursday we moved down to Alert Level Two from Three.

And now I’m musing about the imposed, and necessary lockdown.

Usually, the week is defined by various activities on specific days: I am out and about daily. But now days follow days with nothing to differentiate one from another.

Yesterday, there was a highlight. A much-needed visit to the hairdresser, many weeks overdue.

And what have I learned in these eight weeks of lockdown?

  • Even though I am a bit of a social butterfly I have learned to amuse myself.
  • I have looked inward and once again have turned to meditation. This was my shield when my husband died all those years ago.
  • I have read and listened to countless books and have discovered new authors.

  • I have walked around this neighbourhood, finding new paths, walkways and streets never before known.

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  • I have learned that just because shops, restaurants and cafes are open again, I don’t have to go there.
  • And I have learned It’s OK Not To Be OK.
  • And mostly I have learned how very fortunate I am. There are so many for whom to mourn, so many without support of family and friends, so many being unable to distance themselves from crowds, so many…

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Rumi, 13th-century Persian poet 

 

 

 

Six Word Saturday

 

Friendship Is the rainbow between two hearts
Judith Baxter, friend, confidante, mother, sister and grandmother
1938 – 

 

                        A  DISASTER, RUINED POT, NOW WHAT?DISASTEDISASTER, RUINED POT, SO NOW WHAT?

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Many years ago I bought my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) a cast iron pot. He was a cook and he loved and cared for that pot.  Wherever we lived, the pot was always too big to go into a cupboard and so it proudly sat on the stove, in full view to be admired.

Unfortunately, the pot didn’t survive my cooking attempts. One day, I put on the pot with apples to stew and forgot about it. Disaster. Apples stuck to the bottom of the pot. Several attempts were made to bring the pot back to its original state without success. And in cleaning it I removed some of the coating so it can no longer be used as a cooking vessel.

Tears,  as I thought about how my husband had looked after the pot. Then I thought of how it could still be used and admired again. It now sits outside the french window in full view in its new function as a planter, and happily sits with three cyclamens in the sunshine.

So Recycled, Reused and Redeemed, I am happy once again.

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain,
comedy and tragedy, humour and hurt.”
Erma Bombeck, American Humourist,
1927-1996

 

I really hope you are all coping in this time of turbulence, trouble and tragedy. Did my lighthearted post brighten your day just a little?

 

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NOTE – I published this about two hours ago but somehow it got lost in the ether and so I had to write it again. So if you got the original before the ether took it and notice some errors, apologies. Blame WordPress or the Ether or whoever, but never the writer. Haha!

 

Today in Lockdown

With nothing better to do on a sunny autumnal Friday,  I started to read W H Auden’s Collected Poems.

This has long sat on the shelf above my bed and I find I often just open a page and see what he has to offer. Today I found:-

When there are so many we shall have to mourn,
when grief has been made so public and exposed
to the critique of a whole new epoch
the fragility of our conscience and anguish,
of whom shall we speak?

For every day they die among us, those who
were doing us some good,
who knew it was never enough
but hoped to improve a little by liv
ing.”
In memory of Sigmund Freud 1939

How very apt at this time when we are counting deaths around the world including those on the frontline of this fight against the unseen and unknown virus.  And then:

“Goodness existed: that was the new knowledge”

W H Auden’s time was so different from ours – 1907 to 1973. He lived during the Spanish Civil War and both World Wars I and II. His poem titled “September 1, 1939”, speaks out of his concern for mankind and where their unbridled hunt for more and more,  and bigger and ‘better’ things will lead.  It is. sobering poem to read, even though written 81 years ago, it still holds true.

“I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:”

And here in New Zealand, the government is considering moving us from Alert Level 3 down to Level 2. If/when this happens, shops will be opened again and the consumerism will once again be god. How I hope that all we have learned in the past six weeks will not be undone.

Looking at what happened when Level 4 became Level 3 and click and collect was put into place for takeaway and fast food services; lines of cars queued for hours for a burger, chicken or coffee. So we will still feed our personal appetites even with the restrictions currently imposed in this Level and promulgated for the next.

 

 

But here in the sun still shines, There are two new cases reported today after one yesterday. Three people are in hospital and some 90% of those who succumbed have recovered. So it appears that we are on the way to getting it under control.

But we are not complimenting ourselves. We are not unaware that we have many benefits that other countries don’t have. We are a long way from anywhere and we are a small nation – 5,000,000 at last count. We have a determined young female Prime Minister, who is willing to listen to advice and accept help from her advisers and scientists.

And I think of my friends and family in other parts of the world and hope that they will soon be able to say they are on the way to gaining control. And with love, I offer the following –

End of today’s musings.

 

 

 

A Totem?

“It is impossible for light not to get noticed,
especially in the dark.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo
Zimbabwean-born and Canadian-based Philosopher.

 

Several Christmases ago, among other things, my daughter gave me a salt lamp. Since that time, the lamp has glowed 24/7.  I never switch it off. I have had to change the bulb on occasion, but that was the only short time it hasn’t glowed in my living room.

With the door open into the living room, it is a reminder during the night, that tomorrow will come and with it, the light.

But on arriving home on March 21 from my brief dog-sitting stay at my son’s house, I found my lamp was off. Unfortunately, this coincided with day one of the imposed lockdown of seniors here in New Zealand. Added to that, the electrical supplier is open only until mid-day on Saturday, so my lamp has to remain off until such time as I can purchase a bulb.

And now my thoughts trundle around and I think this will be my totem. Once the pandemic is under control, and life returns to some kind of ‘normalcy’, my lamp will glow brightly once again with a new bulb

And then I remember the wartime song, bringing hope and lightness into the very darkest days of World War Two.

When the lights go on again all over the world
A kiss won’t mean “goodbye” but “hello to love”
When the lights go on again all over the world
And the ships will sail again all over the world
Then we’ll have time for things like wedding rings
and free hearts will sing
When the lights go on again all over the world.”
And for those of you who are not even nearly as old as me, here’s the link to Dame Vera singing this song during the war. Perhaps it can bring hope to us during this dark time when there is so little to celebrate.
Meantime my lamp will stand as a reminder that there are ways and means to lighten the darkness.
“The most precious light is the one that
visits you in your darkest hour!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan
Turkish author and playwright .1965 –

 

 

Sunday’s Sunshine Saunter

“I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks – who had the genius, so to speak, for sauntering: which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked for charity, under the pretense of going à la Sainte Terre,” to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander.”
Henry David Thoreau, American essayist, poet and philosopher. 1817-1862

My walks these days are more a saunter than a brisk walk. But while sauntering  I have time to take in the sights and the scenery. Yesterday, I ventured further into a park that houses the outside swimming pool. Nobody was in it and I omitted to take a photo of this sad, deserted area, But I did get some others.

The street leading to the park

Deserted play area

Almost a country lane
but so close to town

I wonder where this drive leads.

The path through the woods

0FEC6764-1FA5-4B28-8C0B-CA4845D40003The path not taken

And so, as the day is drawing to a close on an. autumn day, I make my way home again to a warm drink and my book.

When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods:
what would become of us, if we walked only in a garden or a mall?
Henry David Thoreau

 

Thursday’s Tirade

No matter how dark the night we know that whatever happens,
the sun will rise tomorrow and then all the shadows

will be chased away.”
Judith Baxter 1938 –

Stay home

What part of this message do people not understand? We have a Minister of Health who has broken the lockdown on two occasions. We have an outspoken, and well-regarded doctor in the far north, who reprimanded the citizens of his home town for ignoring the Stay Home notice. Now we find that he went kayaking over the weekend.

And out of the spotlight, I have neighbours whose daughter and young children visited yesterday and a friend whose son visited. We now have only five more days in the current Alert Level 4 and at 11.59 pm on Monday less stringent rules will apply to lockdown. Our bubbles can then be extended. Can these people not wait five days?

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Our Prime Minister congratulates almost all New Zealanders for obeying these strict rules and helping to keep Covid19 under some control.  Foolish, and unthinking actions like these will quickly undermine all the good that has been achieved over the preceding weeks.

Selfishness and Me Me attitudes cannot be allowed.

OK End of the rant; well at least for today.

Here in Aotearoa, NZ, we are getting our first taste today of the winter to come. Rain and wind met me when I woke this morning. No sign of the fabulous Indian Summer we have been enjoying over the last few weeks. Here, winter is mostly grey and wet: maybe thoughts of winter encouraged today’s rant.

But I am English and like the mail, we go out in the wind and rain for our daily perambulation; suitably dressed of course. I don’t know if there will be photos to accompany me on the walk and to share with you.

And a reminder – a pluviophile is a lover of rain.

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.”
Roger Miller, American singer-songwriter and actor
1936-1992

 

 

 

 

Musing and Meandering on Monday

April gave a party; The leaves by hundreds came–
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet and everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing, Professor Wind the band.
The Chestnuts came in yellow, The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses MapleIn scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow now fallen from the sky.
George Cooper (1840-1927) was an American poet and composer.

Another beautiful autumn day had me scurrying out for my walk before lunch.

Today, I found yet another lovely pathway to walk along. I could hear the people on the dog park, exercising their dogs and chatting with each other; the dogs were barking; the children were laughing and the adults were chatting. Almost, but not quite, back to normal. But dogs don’t understand social distancing as we do.

And the walk –

 

Then back home in time for a video call with my grandson No 4. He is at university in Christchurch and today the university re-opened following the Easter break. All learning will be covered online. So he will be kept busy, if not amused, during the lockdown. How lucky am I to have these young men in my life and how grateful I am that they want to include me in theirs.

 

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And today there was no 1pm televised update with the Prime Minister and the Director-General of Health.  Instead, we were glued to the television at 4 pm to learn that we were to come out of Alert Level Four and move to Alert Level Three at 11.59 pm on Monday 27 April. This will have been good news for many businesses but for most of us, there will be little change. The main one that will affect me, is that I will be able to travel in my car the 8 kms to once again take my favourite walks along the beach.

And so another day in the life of an aged lady comes to an end.

and from Mary Oliver, of course:

“As long as you’re dancing you can break the rules.
Sometimes breaking the rules is just extending the rules
Sometimes there are no rules.”

Note – apologies to Mr Cooper. April is autumn in our part of the world, not October

Tuesday’s Trundle

We are still enjoying lovely warm, late summer days here in Wellington; but we are reminded that it is autumn/fall because the leaves are turning colour all around us.

Taking advantage of this weather, I have been walking each day. Just around the neighbourhood and I am finding out that it’s a delightful area in which we live. Today I found a new park and walkway. I have often walked past the sign to Cummings Park next to the local library; today I decided to visit it.

The park forms part of the Northern Walkway, a walk of 16 km around our capital city. One can enter it at various points and one day I shall go further from this starting point. I have walked most of it in parts and at various times. This is a new find for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And then, because it is Autumn and the nights are drawing in, I hurried home as the sun and the temperature dropped.

“When I’m in turmoil, when I can’t think when I’m exhausted and afraid,
and feeling very, very alone, I go for walks.
It’s just one of those things I do.”

― Jim Butcher,  American author. 1971 –

 

Easter in Lockdown

“It is a serious thing just to be alive
on this fresh morning, in this broken world.”
Mary Oliver

Along with the rest of the world, our plans for Easter this year have had to be abandoned.  This was to be a special Easter. My baby girl was having a special birthday on the 11th April, the Saturday of Easter. She was born four days before Good Friday and often since then, Easter has been around her birthday.

But now 60 years later (can I possibly be that old?) I had booked a cottage in one of the wine-growing regions for us.

My daughter, her two sons and girlfriends (if they wished) would all sally forth on Good Friday, spend three nights there and then head back home. We would spend our days wandering the vineyards and sampling the wines. We have a built-in driver as my daughter doesn’t drink. Does she know what she is missing?

The boys, now really young men, are both good cooks so those duties would be spread amongst us. I had told myself that for one breakfast I would make them Fairy Bread aka French Toast.  As little boys, they loved my “Fairy Bread” and nobody else was allowed to make it. But now instead of just lemon juice and sugar, I would serve it with stewed apples, banana, blueberries and maple syrup.  But this time, the only one who had that breakfast was me, eaten alone at the dining table at home.

I then got to thinking about other Easters in this long life.

When I was growing up in London all those years ago, Easter was an important time in our calendar.  We, three girls, went to church in our new clothes to celebrate Easter but of course, Mother, who was Jewish, didn’t accompany us.  And I am not sure why Father didn’t come, but he didn’t. Friday service was always very solemn and left us in a sombre mood for the rest of the day.

But we all looked forward to the Easter Parade on Easter Sunday.  On this day most Londoners congregated in Hyde Park to see ‘the toffs’ parading in their finery.  What excitement for three young girls.

Even as far back as the middle ages, many cultures would strut their new finery on their way to church or visiting friends on this Sunday.  A more spiritual slant is that this ritual represents the procession that followed Christ carrying the cross.

To read the rest of this post, click here

There was the awful Easter in 2014 when somebody set fire to the storage area containing my worldly goods.

 

An arsonist was caught on camera entering the facility and when charged, claimed innocence. Luckily the things  I lost were replaceable, although unfortunately/stupidly  I had forgotten to insure the stored-goods. You can read more of this here.

There was a  memorable Easter spent on the French Riviera in an unheated caravan. Great memories of fun and laughter; another Easter with my parents and our baby daughter and yet more when our family was increased by the birth of a son.

And so many other memories of Easters spent around the world; until 1998 with my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) who by 1998 while still dashing, was no longer young and my children and then with their children. Then several years here in New Zealand without him but with family and friends, and a few short years with my Late Love, The Architect. Most  Easters has been memorable in one way or another and all sit safely in my Suitcase of Memories (thank you Patti,  of A New Day Dawns) to be taken out and enjoyed all over again.

But this Easter will surely go down in history as the strangest of all.

“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am
to be blessed.”
Mary Oliver

And a final quote from Pope John Paul 11

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair.
We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”

― Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyła)